Riverside D.A.: Someone Changed Voters’ Party Affiliations Without Consent

Someone with access to voters' personal information used the state’s voter registration site to change the party affiliations of dozens of Riverside County residents ahead of the June 7 election, District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Wednesday. The revelation is raising serious concerns about voter fraud and the security of the state's online voter registration system in particular.

Registration issues are nothing new, but election officials were surprised by the volume of complaints they received heading into and after the California primaries. Riverside County Republican Chairman Scott Mann received at least three dozen complaints. Democrats were affected too, and there appears to be no common thread among the victims.

Yet when asked earlier this month, the California Secretary of State’s office denied that there had been any breach of the voter registration database. Secretary of State Alex Padilla also issued a statement that appeared to be at odds with Hestrin’s claims, saying his office has “not received any substantiated claims from district attorneys and county registrars of unauthorized political party affiliation changes.”

Riverside officials know the site was tampered with because of login information, said John Hall, a spokesman for Hestrin’s office. The actions appear to be “somewhat random and somewhat unsophisticated,” he added.

Tracking down the culprit or culprits will be virtually impossible, however, because the website didn’t retain the IP addresses. Hestrin played down the possibility of a prosecution, calling the status of the investigation "cold." 

Attention is now focused on the integrity of future elections and the state’s online registration system. Members of both parties have been expressing worry for some time. “The only news here is that the media is actually noticing it,” one member of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots said.

Read more about the results of Hestrin’s investigation here.

Image Credit: Flickr User donkeyhotey, https://flic.kr/p/axjAxe via (CC BY 2.0)


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